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:ome a successful Blender Shapeways designer - 

to learn "learning' 

Pirate - by Ben Dansie 


EDITOR - GauravNawani 
MANAGER/EDITOR - SandraGilbert 
WEBSITE - NamPham 
DESIGN - GauravNawani 


Charlie Shene 
Fade Shayol * 
Scott Hill 
Brian C. Treacy 
Bruce Westfall 
Daniel Hand 
Daniel Mate 
Henriel Veldtmann 
Joshua Leung 
Joshua Scotton 
Kevin Braun 
Mark Warren * 
Noah Summers 
Phillip Ryal 
Ronan Posnic 


Richard Borrett 


Metalnat Hayes 

Joris Verbeken and Virginie Peeters 

Dolf Veenvliet 

Chris Yonge 

Krzysztof Bozalek 

Ben Dansie 

Shigeto Maeda 

Orest B 

Hakki Riza Kuciik 


The Trip - by Anurag 

DISCLAIMER does not take any responsibility either ex- 
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curacy of the information which is published in this PDF 
magazine. All the materials presented in this PDF 
magazine have been produced with the expressed per- 
mission of their respective authors/owners. Blender- and the contributors disclaim all warranties, 
expressed or implied, including, but not limited to implied 
warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular 
purpose. All images and materials present in this docu- 
ment are printed/re-printed with expressed permission 
from the authors and or writers. The contents responsib- 
ility lies completely with the contributing writer or the au- 
thor of the article. 

This PDF magazine is archived and available from the website. The blenderart magazine is made 
available under Creative Commons 'Attribution-NoDerivs 
2.5' license. 

COPYRIGHT© 2005-2012 'Blenderart Magazine', 'blender- 
art' and Blenderart logo are copyright of Gaurav Nawani. 
'Izzy' and 'Izzy logo' are copyright Sandra Gilbert. All 
products and company names featured in the publication 
are trademark or registered trademarks of their respect- 
ive owners. 




Technology has advanced to 
the point where you can 
print out your "something". 

Back when I got into 3D I 
thought it was the coolest thing 
in the world to start with a 
blank screen and create a 
"something". And the cool part 
was that I could turn it and view 
it from any angle. I was no 
longer limited to just one view 
and I didn't have to "draw / 
paint" multiple angles. I could 
just move the camera and "ta 
dah", new image. Seriously 

Well now that awesomeness has 
grown to a whole new level. 
Technology has advanced to the 
point where you can print out 
your "something". Yes, that's 
right, print it out and actually 
hold it. That just makes me 
want to "happy dance" all over 

the office. :) 

There are several companies that 
offer 3D printing services as well 
as a number of affordable 3D 
printers for those of us that 
simply can't live without one. 

So why would you want to print 
out your 3D models? Well, 
beyond the obvious "coolness" 
of simply being able to print it 
out and play with it? 

There are unlimited uses. You 
could prototype new products as 
well as print and sell actual 
products in a growing number of 
materials. Everything from 
jewelry to smart phone cases 
and quite a few unusual and 
unique items as well. 

If you can create / model it, you 
can print it out as long as you 
take into consideration the 
printing specifications for your 
chosen material. 

But where and how do you get 
started? Well that is exactly what 
we will be looking at in this 
issue. So gather close as we 
delve into the exciting world of 
"3D Printing". 


Printed Pirates 

milling and 3D 

3d printing with 

d r *n 

Usingthe3D print 
for the products 
design and fine 

Makers Factory 

100 hours of print 
time and what I 
have learned 



A clueless- wonder's guide to 3D printing. And 
when I started this project I was definitely 
clueless. I mean I did have a general working 
understanding of what was needed. Design a model, 
send it to a 3D print service like Shapeways and wait 
for it to arrive in the mail. 

A rather simplistic understanding of course, but it 
was enough of a start to get me going. 


Any project requires at least a bit of planning. First 
you need to decide exactly what you are going to 
model and print. That in itself can be a real show 
stopper. For my first 3D printing project I modeled 
our BAM logo. 

Now, you may have noticed the BAM logo is rather 
longand rectangular and really notthat complicated. 
But it is mostly text, something I am not overly fond 
of modeling. Luckily for me, I have an SVG of our logo 
which took most of the pain out of modeling it. Once 
imported into Blender.there wasa bit of clean up 
involved, butfairly quickly I had a simple 3D version 
of the BAM was simple, clean and frankly, not 
overly inspired. So it was time to stop and do a bit of 
that planning thing. 

After giving it some thought, I decided our logo was 
just too longand unwieldy.Then I remembered that 
we have an alternate logo that we use on our 
Facebook page. That might make a better starting 

point. After tossing a few ideas around, I hit 
upon trying to make it look like it had been 
carved out of a large stone. I Googled a 
bunch of images of carved stonesignsfor 
reference and a concept started taking shape. 

Since I had already modeled the original BAM logo, it 
was a simple matter of grabbing the "B"and "A"and 
starting from there. I decided to delete the "mag" 
part of the logo (I didn't think it would show up well 
since it is so small compared to the rest of the logo). 
A couple of hours later I had a reasonable looking 
carved stone logo. It probably would have taken 
considerably less time if I hadn't spent so long 
playing in sculpt mode. Sculpting is seriously 
addictive fun! 


This probably should have been done before the 
modeling, but now I decided to go look at the specs 
for the material I was going to use, in this case Full 
Colored Sandstone. The part that stuck out the most 
was the "sandcastle rule" If this structure was made 
of wet sand, would it break? 

H mmm, does that mean it needs to be solid? A quick 
email to Bart answered that question. N ot at all. It 
can be hollowed out but the walls must be thick 
enough to support it, in this case the walls would 
need to be at least 3mm thick. 

W ell, that meant it was time to go back to Blender, 
because I currently have a solid object. N ot ideal, 
since the pricing is done on volume. So a quick 
extrusion up into the model from the bottom should 

Bart did suggest using M eshLab to check my model 
before uploading, so I downloaded the program, 
exported my amazing creation and opened it in 
M eshLab and had absolutely no idea what to do from 



there. Cluelessness strikes again. A bit of poking 
around did let me see my model from all angles and 
see the size and thickness of it, but that is all I could 
figure out. I am sure that M eshLab is a great 
program, but I would need to spend a fair amount of 
time trying to figure it out. So I wentbackto Blender 
where I am most comfortable to check wall 
thickness, size and if I had any non-manifold issues. 
N aturally there were issues that I needed to address 
before I uploaded my model. Did you really expect 
there wouldn't be? 

N on-manifold issues were revealed by pressing 
CTRL+ALT+M .Luckily there were only a few which I 
fixed up. N ext was sizing. W hen I actually checked 
how big my model was I was seriously surprised. I 
hadn't given any real thought to size while modeling 
so it was HUGE! In fact big enough to be a small 
ornament in my garden. Serious re-scaling down to a 
more manageable size was required. I think I settled 
for about 4-5 inches high. 

kay time to upload it to Shapeways. First you need 
an account, which is very easy to set up, then upload 
your model. Thedialogfor uploading is very simple 
to use. Then you wait and get an email that states: 


Wejust received the successful upload of your product 
'BAM_3D_print.x3D'. Wewill now run someautomated checks 
to see if your product can be printed. 

W hen your product is fineyou can find it in your 'M y 
Shapeways' section and you will be notified that your product is 

W hen your product can not be printed you will receive an e-mail 
with the error we found. 

We will get back asap to you with the results of the checks. 

N ow honestly I have no idea how long it took for 
them to check my model because I wandered off for 

a cup of coffee and completed a few household 
tasks. Next time I checked my email, there was a new 
email letting me know that my model was now 
available in the "M y M odels"section of my account. 

Yay, time to check it out and look at prices. 
W hoopsie, I may have wanted to size that model a 
bit smaller. Full color sandstone was going to cost 
over $300.00. 

Now isagoodtimeto discuss sizing and pricing. 
M odels are priced on volume not size, so any model 
that is pretty solid and fairly big it is going to cost 
more than if it was either smaller or less solid. 


Sign Up! Aleadyamembe['?Logln 



Confirm password 

Email address 

13 Discover new products with our weekly newsletter 

By clicking Cieate Account you agiic to 1 

our Privacy SI at sin en. . . 

Since my model was a fairly solid object, I opted for 
thinning the walls and reducing the size to about 2 
inches, which actually will fit on my over crowded 
desk much better anyhow. :P 



shapeways' c™i. a^m, n.m.u.1, a 


1 . Upload your designs for 3D printing 

|Ctoo«Ffe Nofileenosen 


Mawmumfilesiie 6-1 MB Supported liletypes. OAE, OBJ, STL, X3D, X3DB.Jt3DV.WRL ZIP ZIP may 

lOfltUn all supported 3d [lies and teiftures Textures Files! £11- JK3 PNGjflfB onfoavaifiablefDrcDlor 
jplaadsfWRL X3P.X3DF5. X30V»BS) 

~ips * Guidelines 

After uploading and waiting for it to be ready for 
viewing/ordering, I now had a model that would only 
cost a little over $17.00. Reducing the size and 
volume made a big difference in price. So I went 
ahead and placed my order. Now all I had to do is 
wait for it to arrive. 

About two weeks later my model arrived in the mail. 
I was super excited to see how it turned out. It was 
TOTALLY AW ESO M E. I love the way Full Color 
Sandstone looks and feels. And the material really 
went well with my model. It gave it added dimension 
asa carved stone. In fact I am highly considering 
modeling a bunch more stones and small ornaments 
and creating a desk top zen garden. I think it would 

All said and done, I have decided there is nothing 
cooler than actually holding something you modeled 
in your hands and getting to look at it from all sides. 
The process was not as hard or scary as I had 
imagined it to be and it is something that I will be 
exploring further in the near future. 

So if you have yet to take the 3D printing plunge, I 
encourage you to give it a try. 

It is a fun and pretty easy process that results in cool 
objects arriving in the mail. :P ■ 



A new year has arrived filled with possibilities for 
artistic growth and learning. In this issue we are 
going to look at your personal projects and goals 
for 2013. What do you hope to learn or 
accomplish with blender this year. The 
possibilities are endless, so let the possibility 
party begin. 

• Looking for tutorials or "making of "articles on : 

• Personal Projects/Creations 
•Any tool ortechnique 

Again way to go on the masters level 1 1 1 1 



Ben Dansie 

Contributing Author 

Using current technology to realise an imagined relic of sea- 
faring history. 


3D printing is 
something that I 
would recom- 
mend every CG 
artist tries at 
least once if they 
have the chance. 
There is the usu- 
al safety net of 
copy, save, undo 
and all the other 

uniquely digital concepts we take for granted. 
H owever, at the end of the process you have the satis- 
faction of being able to hold and admire the fruit of 
your labours in a physical form. Renders can be beau- 
tiful, but if you haven't engaged in much traditional 
artwork before, it is really quite something to see 
your work outside of the context of a screen. 

It is also a chance to create items that would be very 
difficult or near impossible to create any other way. 
Overlaps, interlocking parts, small areas a knife 
couldn't possibly fit and scaled detail that would be ri- 
diculously hard to carve by hand. 

This article will cover a range of processes involved in 
printing a metal pendant, but most of the information 
should apply to 3D printing in general. It is also worth 
mentioning that this is not a detailed modelling tu- 
torial. W ith that in mind, let's begin! 


I knew I wanted to do pirate themed pieces when I 
started. I also knew I didn't want to just sit down and 
model the first thing that came to mind. I've done that 
before and it never comes close to what I have in the 
back of my imagination. G iven that I had some time 
off work I threw myself into a range of inspiration. 
Books, forum threads, films, music, games and more. 
Thanks to the likes of Geoffrey Rush, Dominic Armato 
and Kermit the Frog, I was all set to start with the 

Pencil?This is a computer graphics magazine, isn't it? 

I do thoroughly enjoy using 
my W acorn tablet for tex- 
ture painting, but I still find 
myself far more comfort- 
able with an actual pencil 
when it comes to fleshing 
out designs and ideas. Giv- 
en that this was a person- 
ally directed project, I had 
the complete luxury of go- 
ing about the tasks exactly as 

wanted. So pen and 

Fig. 1: Front and side views of facial model in Blender. 



Printed Pirates 

pencil it was. W hile watching pirate films and eating 
cheesecake of course. I love the design phase- 
After brainstorming a list of all things buccaneer and 
trying a few, I decided to go with a female pirate cap- 
tain. The inspiration just seemed to flow that way. I 
avoided doing the ring design because I wanted to 
have the end result for sale on Shapeways and selling 
different ring sizes 
was something I still 
needed to research. I 
tried the earring 
design, but the long 
curved attachment at 
the top worked far 
better in 2D than it 
did in 3D. So I revis- 
ited the design and 
thus the pendant 
showed itself. 

If I had simply thought 'pirate' and started out in 
Blender, I wouldn't have come anywhere near this line 
of thought. 


From here I was ready to get into the modelling. All of 
the base meshes were completed in Blender and the 
sculpting was done in Zbrush. Blender's sculpting 
tools are gaining ground for sure, but as a Zbrush 
owner I'm quite happy to use it when appropriate. I'd 
lovetodecideonedaythatclayandahuge3D scan- 
ner were the right tools for the job, but somehow I 
lackthefundsforahuge3D scanner. (If someone has 
an article about high detail, home-brew photogram- 
metry, I'm all ears.) 

Often I 'II feel free to deviate from my own concept art 
and just use it as a starting block, but I was already 
happy with the feel of the sketches and wanted to at 
least keep the overall forms as intact as possible. To 
keep the silhouette, I traced the outline of the pirate 
in the initial sketch with vertices and extruded in from 

there. I considered actually modelling the base of 
each major hair curl with proper topology, but that 
would have taken too much effort for too little re- 
ward in the end. Good topology can help with the 
sculpting process for sure, but when your end result is 
sterling silver that you can polish, polygons don't 
enter into it as much. (Side note: Deliberately printing 
a low poly mesh can have an interesting effect if you 
want to go that 

While it was 
clear that I 
wanted to pre- 
sculpt the head 
and poly model 
serpents were 

certainly a mix of both. nee all the components were 
together and scaled correctly to fit with one another, I 
gave the whole thing a subtle 'nudging' pass. Deliber- 
ately moving parts around slightly to break up perfect 
curves, giving a slightly more handmade look to the fi- 
nal result. 

It is also important to keep physical structure in mind 
during the modelling process, not just as something 
you check for afterwards. Are you you printing in 
metal? Plastic? Does it need to hold or support any- 
thing?This project was always going to be in metal. 
I've worked with Sterling Silver before, so while I'm 
certainly no silversmith - I had a reasonable idea of 
what details would show up and how strong certain 
parts needed to be. Structurally it just needed to hold 
it's own weight on any of the top curves that the 
wearer decided to attach a chain, most likely the out- 
er two serpents. 

W hat I needed to keep an eye on was the volume of 
the piece more than the strength. Too thick and the fi- 
nal silver piece becomes very heavy and quite expens- 
ive. That being said I did have to keep an eye on the 
minimum detail size as well. A general note though 



Printed Pirates 

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(which is reiter- 
ated on the 
Shapeways web- 
site) is to take a 
step back and re- 
member just how 
small one milli- 
metre for ex- 
ample actually is 
in real life. 

Something might look a bit nicer on your screen if it is 
half the thickness, but even if the printer could handle 
it, would you really be able to see sculpted eyelashes 
at a width of 0.1mm?Given that I love details I had to 
remind myself of this a lot. 


Another way to keep overall volume down is to mess 
with proportions somewhat. W hile the pirate looks to 
have a reasonable proportions from the front view - 
the side view is somewhat flat, lacking the "proper" 
depth. N ot too exaggerated, but scaling back the 
depth of the overall piece saved on a fair bit of volume 
which saves weight, materials and price in the end. 

For more modelling and sculpting specifics, there are 
many, many tutorials out there by a number of talen- 
ted artists in many 
fields. Remember, 
just because a tu- 
torial uses Zbrush 
orM udbox,that 
doesn't necessarily 
mean it can't be 
completed in 
Blender. Most of the 
brushes I use are 
standard, flatten, 
pinch, inflate and 
smooth -all of 
which arein 

I also found that Cycles and its ability to effortlessly 
render nice looking metal materials came in handy for 
visualising thefinal piece. I'm used to deciphering 
forms from wireframes, penG L previews, ugly video 
compression and all sorts of digital representation. A 
good quality render can help a lot though, particularly 
with metal reflections and getting a feel for how light 
will interact with your physical print. N ot a necessary 
step in the process, but a handy one to have up your 


This part of the process can take as little as five 
minutes or it can drag out to be a real source of frus- 
tration. Expect some trial and error, especially if it is 
your first piece. Don't let this section of the article put 
you off printing because there are a number of design 
guides outthereto helpyou avoid the pitfalls. 

If you are planning to use a service like Shapeways, 
grab all the information you can directly from their 
website- material properties, design rules, file types 
and so on. In the case of Shapeways there is a user 
forum which is also a great resource for artists start- 
ing out on their 3D printing adventures. 

If you have modelled your mesh poly by poly all in the 
one program and you know your face normals are all 
facing outwards then congratulations! You're prob- 
ably halfway there already. If you have swapped the 
mesh in and out of a few file formats, used mesh op- 
timising tools (eg. decimate), booleans or just sculpted 
to your heart's content without taking mesh structure 
into account at all - you probably have some clean up 
work to do. N ever fear though, there are a range of 
free (some as in speech, some as in beer) tools to help 
you out. 

All threeofthese have their uses, butl found netfabb 
Studio Basic to be the most 



Printed Pirates 

helpful for what I needed it to do. 

After exporting 
your model from 
Blender (most likely 
a .stl file, but others 
are accepted by 
perform an auto- 
mated analysis of 
the basic details 
such as volume, 

length and area. These are all handy details and can 
help you keep an eye on weight and cost, but it is the 
other checks like bad edges, flipped triangles and 
holes in the mesh that these programs can detect and 
fix for you that make them really valuable. You can 
also perform simple operations like scaling and trans- 
lating the mesh. bviously if you have kept a tight eye 
on scale already this is not really required, but it is 
helpful if you decideyour model isjust a little too 
wide for a certain use or just out of your budget for 
weight or cost. 

If the analysis points out any errors, there is a repair 
option which is fairly easy to use. The defaults will 
usually do the trick, but options are certainly there if 
you need them. I always find it worth manually check- 
ing the mesh after running any sort of automated pro- 
cess. This goes for any piece of software. It is a force 
of habit for the most part, but you never know when a 
sculpted eye socket might be detected as an error and 
clumsily filled in by the software. It is far better to 
check for it now as opposed to when your print finally 
arrives in the mail! 

After the mesh is checked overall for being accept- 
able for the printer, it is time to check the thicknesses 
for strength. There is a measuring tool in netfabb, but 
I find the EasyF IT one to be very efficient to use. 
Check with the printing guidelines (on Shapeways, or 
for the printer you will be using) and start measuring 
the smaller more delicate parts of your design - if any. 

There is one more thing worth mentioning in this sec- 
tion in regardstothependant.Thestructureof the 
mesh is made up of multiple overlapping closed sur- 
faces (hulls). Be sure to have the overlapping sections 
solidly overlapping, not simply touching edges. 

Initially I thought I would need to have one single con- 
tinuous mesh for the entire printed piece. This would 
have either required some heavy boolean work, some 
work with the awesome remesh modifier in Blender 
or a whole lot of fancy re-topology and shrinkwrap 
modifier madness. I almost went with the remesh op- 
tion, but I was able to print at Shapeways with the 
multiple overlapping and watertight meshes. If the 
meshes are simply touching and not overlapping by a 
strong enough amount, they will simply fall off during 
the print process. 

There might be more checks you have to do depend- 
ing on your design, but in most cases you should now 
be ready to send on to the printer! 


This part in theory 
is quite straight 
forward, but de- 
pending on how 
thorough you were 
mesh for printing you might have some trial and error 
here too. Thistime I had far less back and forwards 
than with my first few Shapeways prints, but the cus- 
tomer service team are quite helpful if your mesh is 
refusing to print or upload. After a bit of practice you 
should beableto simply upload your model, choose 
the material and order away! 

Depending on the intricacy of your design and the ex- 
pense of the final print, you might want to order it in 
one of the cheaper materials first. The flip side of that 
for international customers istheshippingcan seem 
like forever when you are eagerly awaiting your print 



Printed Pirates 


on the other side of the planet. N ot that it is the fault 
of the print company in any way, it's merely a human 
patience thing. Of course, if you own a decent 3D 
printer at home or at work - you're laughing. For the 
rest of us though, patience is a virtue. 

M y gold plated steel version of the print arrived first 
because the silver version was knocked back due to 
polishing issues. This also split the shipping into an- 
other fee, which was less than ideal. I was as happy as 
could be expected with the quality of the printed 
steel. A bit of a 'sunken treasure' sort of feel about the 
surface quality, which doesn't hurt with this particular 
theme. It was always the silver one I was anxious to 
see though. Looking at the package tracking data was 
interesting as it shipped from city to city, but I think it 
actually had the effect of making the wait seem 

Finally the silver version arrived at work and the 
package was eagerly opened and proudly shown 
around the studio. Definitely happy with the end res- 
ult on that one, the surface details are immensely bet- 
ter than the steel. Again, it differs per design and per 
material but you may need to polish / sand / clean up 
your print once it arrives, but some designs benefit 
from the printed texture. 


It was suggested on the Shapeways forum that I 

should try and patina my work. In short, this is the 
blackened and discoloured parts in the pendant 
photo. The process involves using chemicals to delib- 
erately age (i.e. tarnish) the metal. This will happen 
over time anyway, but when applying the chemicals 
yourself, you can specify where and how tarnished. 
Different colours can also be achieved depending on 
the metal and the chemicals. 

I could certainly understand the point about darken- 
ing the crevices to help the details stand out. 
However, I was initially quite reluctant to tarnish 
something on which I had worked so hard and then 
had to wait for in the mail. Eventually I decided to give 
it a go and I am very glad I did. 

The first method I tried was a more natural approach 
using a hard-boiled egg. The internet will give many 
variations on the exact steps, but really it is a pretty 
simple process. N OTE: Don't expect to be able to 
completely remove or polish the patina off afterwards 
if you change your mind -it will come back a bit faster 
than normal once exposed to the sulphur.Think it 
through first. 

• C lean your silver item thoroughly and have it at the ready. 

• H ard boil an egg (or two for larger pieces), mash it up and 
place it in a seal-able bag or container. (Something that you 
dont intend on using for another purpose is probably a good 

• I mmediately put the silver item in with the warm egg. It 
will be easier to clean up afterwards if you can keep them 
from touching. 

• Seal the bag or container as soon asyou can because it is 
the gas from the egg that does the work.The more gas you 
can trap inside, the faster the process will go. 

• The silver will then rapidly go through the oxidation pro- 
cess it would naturally go through anyway over time be- 
cause of the sulphur. Left long enough (overnight should be 
plenty) it will go black, but it will go through a range of col- 
ours first if you want to remove it earlier than that. 

Of course I tried it on a small, simple ring first and it 
worked just fine. H owever, when trying it on the 
pendant it worked, but it did not work evenly. I'm not 
sure as to whether this is to do with the amount of de- 



Printed Pirates 


tails and surface 
variation or the 
size of the 
pendant, but I op- 
ted for Plan B. 

Plan B in this case 
is known as Liver 
of Sulphur (LOS). 
There are online options for purchasing this sub- 
stance but it was available locally at a jewellery sup- 
ply store. If you can find it at a local store, this is 
probably the easier option. You mightjust have to ask 
around at a few places. 

Once again there are a number of variations on how 
to make use of Liver of Sulphur so I will just give a 
quick overview of what I did personally. I recommend 
that if you are interested in this process or other sim- 
ilar ones for different metals that you do some further 
research and see what will suit your needs. Gloves 
and very good ventilation are advised. It also smells 
quite heavily as you might imagine, so doing it out- 
doors is a very good idea if possible. Be sure to read 
the precautions that come with the chemical. (N ote: 
All these precautions are why I tried the simple egg 
method first.) 

• First I gently heated up the metal to Yemove'the previous 
patina. This step is only necessary because of thefailed egg 
patina I did earlier. Fortunately the heat required to remove 
it is a lot less than the heat that would melt the metal. As 
mentioned though, it will tarnish faster than usual once ex- 
posed to the sulphur, so this isn't a complete reversal of the 
patina process. I used a small blowtorch for this, the hand- 
held gas sort that has a range of uses. bviously let the metal 
cool properly afterwards. 

• Two containers (not to be used for anything other than this 
process afterwards) were then filled with water -a warm 
water one with a tiny (half a pea) sized amount of LO S and a 
room temperature one with some bicarbonate (baking) 
soda.A teaspoon or two of thesodaisfine. 

• Either lower the piece into the LO S using some string (def- 
initely not your hands) or with gloves still on, paint the LOS 
solution on the piece with a brush. The brush may give you 
more control if you don't want to spend as much time polish- 

ing afterwards. I simply submerged it to ensure an even cov- 

•The reaction should befairly quick. If submerging the 
piece, remove at regular intervals to check what colours you 
are getting from the reaction. nee it has gone black, the 
colours aren't going to change any more, but you may w ish 
to remove the piece earlier if you like one of the other col- 

• W hen happy with the colour, submerge the piece entirely 
in the bicarbonate soda mixture and then rinse the piece 
thoroughly in running water. 

• From here you might befinished,butyou will probably 
want to polish off some of the extra tarnish in certain areas. 
A simple polishing cloth should get thejob done. 

N aturally, different metals and other materials can 
have a wide range of post processing applied. Paints, 
varnishes, stains, burns and the like. J ust remember 
that undo generally doesn't apply in the real world... 


All in all it was a very enjoyable experience. Taking the 
round trip from physical drawing to digital mesh back 
and then back to physical sculpture was great. Hold- 
ing the finished product in my hands was very satisfy- 
ing. The cheesecake was delicious. 

In all serious- 
ness though - 
I'm excited not 
only by what I'll 
be ableto print 
for future pro- 
jects, but also 
by the increas- 
ing range of in- 
spiring prints 

that are popping up now that the technology is con- 
tinually becoming more accessible. Hopefully you've 
enjoyed this article and all the best for your 3D prin- 
ted adventures! ■ 



Using the 3D print for the 

s design and fine arts 

Shigeto Maeda 

Contributing Author 

W e were looking forward to getting the technology to 
make our models not only an 'Image on the screen' 
but 'Tangible' for a long time. The 'future' is in our 
hands right now. 

I've been 



for my 

artwork in 

the last 

two years. 


use 3D print service through the internet easily, so 

today I think it's very common technology. 

W hen I started my 'Generative M odeling Project', I 
had a plans to finally make them real objects. As a 
result of it, the project has been very interesting. 

I don't have a 3D printer now, but I found and already 
ordered a resin type 3D printer from B9Creator. 
W hen you read this, the printer must be working 

Usually, I use two 3D print services, 'Shapeways' and 
'Inter-Culture'.Asyou know, with 'Shapeways' we 
could choose materials from many kinds and the cost 

is reasonable, and it is speedy. 

'Inter-Culture (a J apanese Company)' can make high 

precision models. I 

select which company 

to use depending on 



materials etc needed 

for this project. 

I have made many 
small figures (made 
with Blender of 




Using the 3D print for the products design and fine arts 

course), and some mock up models for 
products. I'm very pleased with their quality. 

In some case, these printed models are 
saleable. For example, thejewels with silver 
materials, and iPhone Cases with plastics 

The things that I keep in my mind for ordering 
3D print is the limit of the size and details. 
Defective results can happen if the model istoo 

Some materials are very fragile. The models are 
damaged very easily during production and 

Even so, the printed objects are so interesting. 
An imaginary life in the PC would be here, in 
my hands! That's really exciting for me ■ 



Combining CNC milling anc 

' format models 

Virginie Peeters 

Contributing Author 


The Landscape Archi- 
tecture Research 
Team (School of Arts 
Faculty, University 
CollegeGhent, Belgi- 
um) is working on a 
research project called 
Ypres Salient'. 

The landscape of 


(1914-1918), near the 

townofYpres, is the 

subject of a mul- 

tidisciplinary research 

project. ne of our research objectives concentrated 

on landscape visualization techniques. It was a local 

project partners' wish to have a model produced of an 

important historic landscape nearthetown of Ypres. 

ne important request was really challenging. The 
area of interest was special because the battles actu- 
ally took place in different parts of the area. Could it 
be possible to somehow highlight these shifting 
battles with some sort of light projection, moving 

Fig. 1 -Australian soldiers, passing 

along a duckboard track near Ypres, 

Belgium, 1917 

over the model? 

ur research team got interested in supporting the 
project partner, so we started a feasibility study on 
3D printing. The quest actually resulted in the discov- 
ery of a system that we found interesting enough to 
share with the Blender artists community. 

It should be mentioned that it is not our objective to 
criticize the valuable technique of 3D 
is only for the specific aspects for our project that we 
had to find for an alternative. 


The local project partner wanted to have an architec- 
tural model of a historic landscape of about 8 by 3.3 
kilometers, on a 1:1350 scale. The model would even- 
tually be 6 by 2.5 m in size. Some GIS data (Geograph- 
ic Information System) about terrain, historical 
buildings, bunkers etc was available so it would have 
been a good idea to look for some sort of digital- 
mechanical system, instead of having it handmade. 

Logically, the technique of 3D printing came forward. 
However, there were a few drawbacks. 3D printing 
proved to be rather expensive on this scale. The sur- 
face of the model needed to beat least a few milli- 
meters thick, resulting in a considerably high amount 
of printing material. Several companies were contac- 
ted but all of their tenders were too expensive for the 
available budget. 

Another difficulty was the fact that many 3D-printing 
machines are designed for smaller dimensions and 




Combining CNC mi 

for large format models 

not for models several meters in size. In our case, the 
complete model would have been composed of more 
than two hundred individual elements. As a con- 
sequence, this also implied a long production time. 

One of the major drawbacks of the 3D printing pro- 
cess however was the fact that, once the model was 
printed, no further adjustments on textures or color 
was possible. M any digital artists know how challen- 
ging it can be to match screen colors with 2D printed 
media. For 3D -printing, this process can be much 
more difficult and the necessary trial and error tests 
would have been expensive and time-consuming. 

This inevitable color matching problem frustrated us 
in the first place, but the ways we tried to deal with it 
stimulated our creativity and eventually led us to a 


We already figured out that CNC milling (Computer 
N umerical Control) was less expensive and that larger 
dimensions were possible. M aybe, with a good test, 
we could have our model for a fair price, and let some 
artist color it by hand? Luckily, our colleagues from 

Fig. 2 -Wireframe of our model in Blender 3D 

the Faculty of Applied Engineering Sciences (U ni- 
versity College of Ghent) were enthusiastic about the 
project and wanted to produce a part of our model. So 
westarted modeling. ..with Blender3D! 

Our research team had some experience in CAD,GIS 
and desktop publishing, but 3D modeling was fairly 

new to us. But as weeks went by, it gradually came 
hometousthat Blender 3D might be the ultimate 
tool to fulfill all the project partners' needs. Of course 
, most of our hunger for new knowledge was fed by 
the internet and there was one special description of 
a workshop, held by BenediktGroG (Hochschulefur 
Gestaltung in Offenbach, Germany) that gave a de- 
scription of 3D matching. The website is completely in 
German, but the basic idea was clear to us. (2) 

W e concluded that, in theory, we had found a system 
that could work. W e just had to do a test. 


So we had a test model in a single color (white) that 
was milled by the Faculty of Applied Engineering Sci- 
ences (U niversity College of Ghent), a standard 
laptop and a Hitachi ED-X10 3LCD Projector. 

Fig.3 -CNC-milled test model. Dimensions: 25 cm by 25 cm 

Could we find a way to project color and texture on 
this model? Of course, these machines are designed 
to project perpendicularly and on a flat surface. Our 
model wasn't flat at all, and we also wanted to place 
the projector in a skew position (e.g. 45 degrees, in- 
stead of the regular 90 degrees). This setting would 
make our test more rigorous, and, even more import- 
ant, would indicate that several projectors could be 
used simultaneously, to highlight parts of our mesh 
that were not facing the average normal direction 




Combining CNC mi 

for large format models 

(e.g. walls or steep parts in the terrain). 

The trick is actually simple. A camera in Blender 3D 
receives light from certain light sources that interact 
with the material of the virtual surface (our mesh) and 
captures this light, through a virtual lens, onto a virtu- 
al sensor. A virtual image is born. On the other hand, a 
projector works in the opposite direction. A physical 
emitter (the 
lamp) radiates 
a virtual image 
through a 
physical lens 
onto a physical 
surface. In our 
case, the virtu- 
al surface (our 
mesh) and the 
physical sur- 
face (our CNC- 
milled model) 
are more or less 

the same. W e only had to set up our virtual world 
identically to our physical world, which eventually 

After a few hours of tinkering with rulers and pro- 
tractors in the real world, and much more hours with 
Blender 3D in the virtual world, our first tests were 
promising. In fact the most difficult part was the ver- 
tical lens 
shift of 
this type 
of pro- 
it is pos- 
sible in 
3D to set 
up a ver- 
tical Fig. 5 -TCamera and model setting in Blender 3D. 

Fig. 4 -The setting of the model and the pro- 
jector. Notice the angle of 45 degrees of the 
table on which the model is placed. 

Fig. 6 -3D projection mapping, using a regular 
projector, a CNC milled model and Blender 3D. 

shift as well. 


From an artists' point of view, our materials, textures, 
light settings, etc. need considerable improvements. 
After all, this is a basic test. 

The photos 
included in 
this article 
also reveal 
that the 
mapping is 
not 100 
correct. We 
are fully 
aware of 
can attribute 
this to the 
fact that our 

measurement instruments were not designed for pre- 
cision work. Also, our 'test lab'is located in an historic 
building, where floors and walls are not always 
squared, making it difficult to measure. 

M uch work is being done at the moment to generate 
the complete mesh of 6 by 2.5 meters. We have also 
been working on the animation part, where different 
techniques wereapplied. We used keyframingon ma- 
terials, textures and spot lights, and some modifiers 
(e.g. build) gave interesting results. H owever these 
results are difficult to show in this article. M ore tests 
are being done at the moment and further investiga- 
tion is necessary, especially for a setting with multiple 
beamers. Nonetheless, we do hope that this descrip- 
tion of our workin progress inspires other Blender 
artists with similar projects. 


The Ypres Salient research project is funded by the 




Combining CNC mi 

for large format models 

Fig. 7 - Detailed view of a part of the model. Notice the rich color 
possibilities. In this case, we highlighted the bunkers and emphas- 
ized their connection with lines. The mapping is not perfect, due to 
measurement errors. 

U niversity College of Ghent, Belgium. The research 
team consists of Steven H eyde, Ruben J oye, H arlind 
Libbrecht, Virginie PeetersandJ oris Verbeken. 

We are grateful for the tests, performed by Frank De 
Metsand his team of the Faculty of Applied Engineer- 
ing Sciences (U niversity College of Ghent, Belgium). 

M any thanks to Bram De Vries for our first steps in 
Blender3D and for the valuable advice on 3D printing 
and projection. 


(1) Frank Hurley, 29 oktober 1917, Australian War 
M useum, E01220 (Image copyright: Copyright ex- 
pired - public domain / 

(2) Description of a 5 days workshop in Schwabisch 
Gmund on 3D matching: http://ig.hfg- 

workshop, consulted on Oktober 5, 2012 

Author contact: 

J oris Verbeken - G IS lecturer 

Royal Academy of Fine Arts & Royal Conservatory / 
Vakgroep Architecturale Vormgeving 

U niversity College of G hent, 

Jozef Kluyskensstraat2 

9000 Gent 

Belgie ■ 



Chris Yonge 

Contributing Author 

The last few years have seen a remarkable change 
in the ability to create and produce computer 
generated 3D forms. N ot only has open source 
software such as Blender become far more usable and 
reliable but commercial companies havejumped into 
the mix with high quality free programs such as 
Google's SketchUp, Pixologic'sSculptris.and 
Autodesk's 1 23 D. On the hardware side, 3D 
extrusion printers from M akerBot and U P are 
approaching the sub-$ 1000 mark, while online 
services like Shapeways and Ponoko provide 
affordable 3D printing in plastics, ceramics, metals, 
and glass. 


.based in Santa 


California, isa 



tion company 


specializes in 

the use of open 

source software with in-house and online 3D printing. 

The majority of our clients are creative professionals 

who need fast, accurate visualization and 

prototyping. Blender, like other open source 

programs such as Inkscape, Processing, and Gimp, is a 
vital part of this work process. 

Let's look at what M akersFactory has in terms of 
hardware. Apart from an Epilog laser cutter/engraver, 
a NextEngine3D laser scanner, and a Roland vinyl 
cutter, we have six 3D printers. The - literally - eight 
hundred pound gorilla in the room is a top of the line 
Z Corporation 650 color powder printer. 

This machine produces four color three dimensional 
models up to 15"by 10"by 8"high. We also have an 
older Z Corporation model, a 310, which has been 
reconfigured to use cement powder in its 8"a side 
cubical build chamber. That only has one color - 
cement - but makes up for that with its affordability. 

Powder printers are simple in conceptthough 
complex in reality. A layer of powder the thickness of 
a sheet of paper is spread over a steel build plate. A 
set of five inkjet heads then go back and forth across 
it. From four of them colored ink - cyan, magenta, 
yellow, and black - is printed as in any other inkjet 
printer. But the fifth print head spreads a binder, like a 



Makers Factory 


thin glue, and this 

solidifies the layer 

of powder into a 

cross section of 

the 3D model that 

is being made. 

Then the build 


a fraction of an 

inch within its 


another layer of 

powder is spread 

over the top of 

the previous one, and the process begins again for the 

next cross section. 

Powder printers take an hour for each inch of height, 
but accept items that are stacked and nested so that 
thebuild chamber can include dozens of objects. 
After printing is complete the items are surrounded 
and supported by loose powder. Using a vacuum hose, 
brushes, and a lot of care, they are dug out, and 
unused powder is recycled into the machine. The 
prints are removed and de-powdered with a 
compressed air jet in a closed chamber. At this stage 
they resemble unfired clay, and are fragile, dusty, and 
with faint color. After they have been de-powdered a 
strengthening agent, either cyanoacrylate (superglue) 
or wood hardener, is applied to the surfaces. This 
strengthens the prints and brings out the full 
brilliance of the colors. A quick sanding in a bead 
blaster, a light spray with polyurethane varnish, and 
they're ready for prime time. 

As well as powder printers, which produce items that 
are colorful and complex but somewhat fragile, we 
have four plastic extrusion printers. These devices 
can be likened to miniature hot glue guns, as they 
produce a thread of molten plastic from their nozzles 
that is precisely laid down in layers to build objects up 
to eight inches on a side. The objects can only be one 
color, butthat color can range from black, white, and 

translucent through vibrant yellows and blues to 
more muted grays and browns. The reels of filament 
are generally engineering grade ABS plastic though 
some printers can also handle the similar 
biodegradable, milk-derived PLA (Polylactic acid) 
material. Extrusion prints are light and tough, well 
suited for engineering prototypes and models that 
will see hard use. 

M akersFactory uses Blender in several ways. First, we 
have regular Friday 3D scanning sessions for people 
who want a model of themselves made. This is done 
using a Kinect device with open source software, and 
produces large .0 BJ files which need cleaning up in 
Netfabb and then rendering in Blender. Sometimes 
the 3D print file is also made from Blender, using an 
.STL file to export the form. 

rganic forms for monochrome 3D printing are also 
generally made in Blender, and exported as standard 
.STL or .PLY files for direct opening by the Z 
Corporation printer driver Zprint. For mapped 
graphics, however, we have best success exporting 
textured .3DSfilesfrom Blender, opening them in 
Rhinoceros (a useful file translator as well as N U RB 
modeler), and then saving out in the proprietary .ZPR 

Weteach Blenderto children and adults; our 
youngest students are nine years old and our oldest ... 
well, we've hesitated to ask. Probably late sixties. But 
everyone - I believe - enjoyed the classes, learned 
about 3D modeling and animation, and has been given 
the ability to create in a digital environment, all due to 

Finally,! also teach Blenderto students atthe 
U niversity of California, Santa Cruz. The classes at 
M akersFactory are fairly simple, focusing mainly on 
the creation and animation of a simple box modeled 
character, but my course at UCSC lasts a full quarter - 
ten weeks - with two lectures and two labs per week. 
It covers most of the basics required to become 
productive and confident in Blender. It is also highly 




Makers Factory 

popular, never failing to fill its 175 places twice a year 
with one or two dozen auditing students in addition. 
M ost are game design majors, though there is also a 
significant presence from astrophysics, film and 
digital media, marine biology, and the mathematical 
sciences - evidence of the wide demand for 3D 
modeling and visualization skills. And, though it's not 
an intended consequence of the course, several 
students have changed their career choice to 
professional animation as a result. 

The depth, richness, configurability, and power of 
Blender makes it an ideal tool for production and 
education. M akersFactory, the School of Engineering 
at UCSC, our students and clients, and ourselves 
would be far poorer intellectually and creatively 
without it. Congratulations to the Blender team! 

831 212 3458- 



Richard Borrett 

Contributing Author 

There's an increasing range of making options 
available to Blender users, from full fledged 3D 
printing services like Ponoko, Shapeways & 
iM aterialize, to DIY options like Makerbotand 
RepRap. These are all a fantastic opportunity to take 
something that was once constrained within the 
computer,and turn it into something tangible that 
people can hold, feel and interact with. 

As well as printing several of my own personal 
projects, I get to see nearly every single design 
coming through our system. This has given me a 
pretty unique viewpoint, where I get to see lots of 
stuff going right, and lots of stuff going wrong! W ith 
that in mind, I've taken what I think are the most 
important things to know, and compiled a list of 
things you should know about3D printing 

• Remember to design for the real world, not Blender. 
It's super easy to forget about stuff like material 
properties and gravity when you're modelling 
something, or be so super zoomed in creating details 
which are going to be so small that in reality you wont 
be able to see them. 

• Know your materials. 3D materials have some 
unique properties that you need to consider when 
you're designing your object such as the crumbly 
"green state" of stai nless steel, or the extrusion 
process of FD M . I n particular, make sure you've got 
your wall thickness requirements met. 

• Design for 3D printing. 3D printing isgreat for 
intricate objects and low volume designs. Embrace 
this! There's no penalty for how detailed your objects 
are, so go nuts with it. Remember that most 3D 
printing services charge you by volume NOT 
complexity, detail or size. Reduce the volume, reduce 
your cost! So many designs are already much stronger 
than they need to be, and can be made much cheaper 
by hollowing out your design, or removing volume 
where it's not needed. Remember that there's no cost 
penaltyfor detail, so use this! 

• C heck your units! Pretty easy one to miss, but 
always check the units of your file before you send it to 
the printer. 5 inches is pretty disappointing when it 
turns out to be 5mm! If you're working with an STL 
file, 1 Blender unit =1 file unit - youll specify this when 
you upload your file to the making service. 

• Non-manifold 
mesh errors. 
Blender hasa great 
shortcut to isolate 
selects all non- 
manifold vertices. 
There are 2 
common culprits: 

VerticeswithO or ledge attached, and edgeswith 
anything greater or less than 2 faces. It's important 
that your design doesn't have any internal walls, as 
these confuse the 3D printer asto what is "inside" and 
what is "outside" your design, and it won't be able to be 

• N etfabb is a great free tool to measure your STL file 
and checkthe volume beforeyou upload itto your 
making service. It's an easy way to make sure you're 
meeting the wall thickness requirements of your 
material, as well as spot any nasty mesh errors you 




3D printing with Blender and Ponoko 

might have missed in Blender. Particularly useful isthe 
'Cuf'feature which lets you easily see a cross section 
through yourfile. 

Prototype! M istakes are expensive. W e can make our 
best guesses as to how a given 3D design will come 
out, but we'll never know 100% until we print it. Small 
prototypes allow you to experiment with the material 
& design before committing to a full-size print - 
especially important if you have specific material 
requirements, like flexibility, strength or surface finish. 

Prototype. Seriously. 

• H ave a go! It can be a little scary at first, but there is a 
wealth of expertise out there. 

Tip for complex geometry: U se Ctrl-Alt-Shift-M to 
select N on-manifold vertices. Expand this selection a 
couple of times with Ctrl-+. Invert the selection with 
Ctrl-I and hide these vertices with H. Select the non- 
manifold vertices again with Ctrl-Alt-Shift-M 



Metalnat Hayes 

Contributing Author 


sing the Makerbot Replicator, the process is as 

• Make model in blender 

• Export .stl file 

• pen the previously saved .stl file 

• Press 'Scale"button 

• Press the '1nches->mm" 

• Press the "M ove"button 

• Press the 'put on platforirfbutton 

• Press the "center"button 

• Then on the top I select the 4th button in green "M odel to 

• Select the default profile for the machine, and then choose 
theoptionsyou wantfor this print 

• Then press the 'GenerateGCode"button on bottom. 

• *Then I edit GCode (only if I'm printing with PLA, to change 
the heating build platform from 110 to 50) 

•Then select "Build to file to use with SD card"and save the 
.s3gfiletoSD card 

• Insert SD card to makerbot and print from the SD card. 

Everything here has a purpose and I won't be able to 
cover every reason. If you have any questions, my e- 
mail is 

(c) http:/Mww. makerbot com 


The most common issues 
I've run into involve the 
leveling of the building 
platform, overhangs, 
flipped normals, hidden 
faces inside the mesh, and 
converting model size to 
real world needs. So let's 
hiton whatwasdoneto 
address each of the issues 
on this list. 

For leveling the build platform, use the in-system 
leveling option at first. I 've found it to be far better to 
level during a print of something with a wide base 
(advanced). You are aiming for a flat line of plastic 
being pushed into the build platform, not a rounded 
tube being lightly placed on the surface. Also when 
leveling this way, do not use "raft/support." 

The rule on overhangs is to be aware of the angle of 
change for an overhang not to exceed a 45 degree 
angle. Thereisa little more that you can push with, 
but when extending too far, you will have plastic 
droop off of the side of the print, and then "maybe" 
catch a little bit on the next layer of some of the 
dropped section. Things get messy fast. There are 
ways to print overhangs with a lot less worry and that 
is using "raft/support." that is an option you can select 
when you are generating GCode. This will create a 
thin line of plastic that will build up with the model so 
that it can catch the bottom of overhangs. That 
"scruff'is kinda fun to pull off. 




00 hours of print time, and what I've learned... 

W hen dealing with flipped normals and hidden faces 
there are some things you must consider. M any 
people say the best way to deal with this is to import 
the .stl of the model into a yet another program and 
do a "clean"or "repair." I personally have opted to be 
stubborn and figure out what I 'm doing wrong in the 
first place! To self-diagnose, first identify the faces 
that are "inside"your mesh but are not intentional. 

The best example of this issue happening is when you 
extrude 4 vertices on one side of a cube. W hen you 
do this you are given 4 new vertices, and 5 new faces. 
The model on the outside looks fine and you just 
made the square a rectangle. But what was left 
behind was a face between those 4 vertices. At no 
point did we tell blender to remove that face, so it 
remained to throw things off later. Be aware of what 
you are leaving behind when extruding. Also consider 
a "remove all doubles"just to be safe. 

In dealing with normals it is important to make sure 
that normals are facing outward, otherwise the print 
will attempt to printupto where the normalsface. 
That may sound confusing but if an object has three 
faces on one side and one face happens to be flipped, 
then that flipped face will be bypassed because there 
is no printable area behind where the normal is 

Most of the time that I have run into this problem is 
when I was joining meshes with boolean unions. At 
the intersection of two meshes you may have faces 
flipped randomly. I 'm sure there is a reason to this 
madness, but I just assume the role of inspector after 
each union. 

N ow you may have the need to make something 
"functional"for real world. Or something really 
awesome, but it has to fill a certain space. The way I 
personally have addressed this, after lots of tests, is to 
assume the default cube is a 2'x 2'x 2 'cube. So, if you 
press "s"for size and type .5, you now have a one inch 
cube. If you remember my list earlier, in ReplicatorG i 
select "scale"and then 'Inches ->mm." this allows me 

to workflawlessly with 

default blender units and 

have a mesh in 3D view 

that isn't unbearably huge!' 

So modeling sections are 

easy enough now, as long 

as you are comfortable 

typing in your 

measurements in inches. 

So if I want to move a 

vertex 2.75 inches, I just 

select the vertex, press the| 

"g"button,then press "x" 

"y"or "z"dependingon the 

axis I want to move on and then immediately type 

"2.75"That principle is carried throughout the model. 

If you are modeling around a real world object (like an 

LED) then make a model with the dimensions using 

this method, and then artistically make the model fit 

around the modeled template of the real world 


The last thing I've had the privilege of working on was 
dual extrusion prints. And I've included a file to be 
used. W hen you create a dual color print, at least 
with ReplicatorG, you will find that you have to create 
an .stl file for each color, and when being printed each 
color will have no awareness of each other. It is 
possible to have the printer print twice in the same 
3D space. Soundscool I know, but can cause the 
printer to get jammed up. 

And it is a pain to clean at times. You may also notice 
particles of each color found on the outside edges due 
to the nature of plastic melting and expanding inside 
the print heads "nozzle." ne way to address this is to 
enable a profile to build a "skirf'around the model to 
catch all the loose particles of plastic. This is an 
advanced setting to handle, but alternatively, it is 
easy to scrape off most of the loose plastic. 

M y best advice: try things, take chances, and have 



Dolf Veenvliet 

Contributing Author 

A few years ago I received an e-mail from the 
people at Shapeways asking whether they could 
use a model of mine for their promotion. Back then, 
hardly anyone had heard of this brand spanking new 
phenomenon called 3D printing. The model in ques- 
tion was one that I had created for the Blender Con- 
ference Suzanne Awards in 2007.ltsnameis Petunia, 
after a flower and as a joke on the Blender Institute's 
projects all being named after fruit. 

Shapeways was kind enough to get me a copy of the 
3D print, and they had someone make quite a gor- 
geous photo as well! This photo then went on to get 
published all over the place. 

From newspapers in New York to the BrisbaneTimes! 
I'd never gotten 
as much atten- 
tion for a piece of 
my work as I did 
then. And all be- 
cause I did a 
small model for 
the Blender 
Conference and 
shared it under a 

Fig. 1 -Petunia as a 3D print courtesy of 

creative commons license. 


If you haven't yet... I have to warn you. There's little 
that prepares you for the feeling of holding one of 
your 3D models in your hands for the first time. It's 
somewhat magical, and made me hungry for more. 
You see... I was trained as a traditional artist, and only 
got into com- 
puters after I got 
my degree in mo- 
numental art. This 
latest develop- 
ment felt like a 
completely nat- 
ural return to my 
roots without 
abandoning my 
new found tool- 
set. Great! 

Fig. 2 -me holding one of my entoforms 


There seems to be the general consensus that 3D 
printing means... well... that anyone can make any- 
thing now! If you havea great product idea, you can 
get it into the marketplace yourself by making it avail- 
ablefor print. I don't thinkthat's true. 

Pretty much every product you can come up with 
needs to be tested. Even if it's just a statuette you 
need to print out a test to make sure it can be printed, 
and see what its really like. I recently had a great idea 



Getting my print on! 


(at least I think so) for a commercial product, had a 
test print made... and only then found out I had to 
make it twice the size to make it function, and that 
would have put it in completely the wrong price 

t*e Variable Cro 

Fig. 3 -one of my commercial ideas, the 
variable cross 

So you see, you still 
need to have some 
money for testing. 


Where design was 
mostly 2D in the 
biggest benefits for 
that since 3D print- 
ers are everywhere, people need more and more 3D 
design as well. And yes they are everywhere indeed. 

A major Dutch department store just started selling 
them for 1000 Euro-ish. That means your mom can 
buy a 3D printer and print herself... well absolutely 
nothing until you teach her to Blend (that's a job), or 
she gets you to make her a design (that's another job). 
And if your mom can, so can everyone else's mom! 
And they all need our help. Of course by mom I mean, 
anyone, or the less computer literate amongst us, ex- 
cept for your mom, who I'm sure is a whizz on the key- 

Now that everyone can get a 3D printer, they need us 
to help them make stuff, or make tools for them to 
make stuff! 

Fig. 4 -my makerbot before I unwrapped it 

gimmicky as well. I 



point soon where no 

one cares about 3D 

be more of a "Hey 

what is that?".. 'Dh 

my new 3D printed 

toy".. "Duh of course it's 3D printed. I want to know 

w here you got that great design from?" It's about 

time we stop caring so much about technique and 

start thinking more about design/concept/coolness 



Maybe the trickiest 
thingabout3D print- 
ing is that it's a bit like | 
a tablet computer. 
You don't really know 
what it's good for un- 
til you own one (or 
have used one for a 
bit). For me person- 
ally, it's exactly the 
tool I want to use 
right now, and I never 

would have known hadn't I been using Blender for the 
decade before 3D printing became a thing! Now lets 
see how we can take all this cool stuff we can make 
with Blender, and make it real! Because in the end, for 
me, that's what it is about ■ 

Fig. 5 -4 versions of blu... a 3D printable 

model available at 


For a while everything that you 3D printed was cool 
just because it was 3D printed. And as long as you 
were the first to 3D print it, it was pretty certain you 
could get some attention. 

You might even makeabuck.Thatwasgreat,butit 
made it all very 



Hakki Riza Kiigiik 

Contributing Author 

To learn is the most important thing around the 
Universe, and we are living in an information age. 
This is the easiest age 'to learn"anything. If you 
would like to learn something, just click and ask 
Google. I can assure you that even learning languages 
is completely possible with Internet resources. 

W ere you ever curious about how people learned 
Blender l.x?There were very few tutorials, websites, 
articles or teachers. M aybe you can say that they did 
not know blender 1.x, they learnt Blender about 2.4x. 


Trust me, I talked with them, they knew both blender 
1.x and blender 2 Ax. 


I want to talk about my opinions topic by topic. The 
first one is Taboos"in our minds. In the past, if 
someone wanted to learn Blender, they must 'try" 
because there were no tutorials available. 

In the old versions of Blender, there were lots of bugs 
and a lot of features that are not present in the 
current version of Blender. But when I saw a car 
render with Blender Internal and in Blender 2.49, 1 
realised that "the problem is not in Blender.the 

problem is in our minds...." 

And you know, if professionals are better than 
beginners, the reason for that is not that 
"professionals are in this job for longer time than us" 
Don't kid yourself. They are better than us, because 
they are creating, and always doing new things. 


W e are watching tutorials and making simple 
models.... I know just a few people who are working 
on real projects. And they are going to be a 

You know, I wantto mention a taboo which is in our 
minds when we start to watch any tutorial: "I am 
afraid to try. H owever, the guy is teaching, they do 
first.then I will...." 

I am sure that you don't agree me when you read this, 
"no I am saying like this," Because of this, what I 
consider to be the worst taboo, we are afraid to try, 
and then because of this taboo, you decide on 
something, and think that there is only one way to do 
the model. 

"Hey man did you hear?Therewereonlyafew ways 
to model a soccer ball" 

'Yeah, he taught one of them" 

"H mm... So we have only one way to do it...." 

'Yeah! So let's doit." 



How to learn "learnin: 


Then every single Blender user only knows one way 
to do a soccer ball because they have a soccer ball and 
they don't have to learn another way to do it. 

Don't be afraid to try. U se a reference photo from the 
first moments of tutorials that are showing the result 
and then try to make it without watching the tutorial. 
If you can't figure something out, watch the tutorial, 
then stop it, and continue to try again. Then you will 
realize that "Hey, I know Blender!":-). I know if you do 
this, it will take lot of time for every tutorial, but it is 
worth it. 

Try, it is not important that Blender crashed, we can 
start it again.but we can't go back to the past and can't 
live the same time again. 

I am not saying that tutorials do not help us. W e have 
a tutorial ocean now, and unless we use it correctly, 
wewilldrown in that ocean. 

"Don't be afraid to try." 


"He is a professional.! can't compete with him. It is an 
unnecessary effort to compete with him."Don't think 
like that, try to beat him. 

If we do have not a deadline or someone who is better 
than us or a work that we want to recreate, we can't 
improve ourselves. W e have to have an attitude that 
will give us the impulse to keep getting better. 

A lot of us are learning Blender for a hobby which 
makes it harder to Blender than if we were doing it 
for a job. W e must choose a way to get better. There 
must bean impulse in our mind to push usto keep 
learning. This is really easy to put it in our mind, 
because it is still there from when we were babies 
who are curious about everything. 

So that is all for this topic? 

Nope, now I will talkabout the important pointsto 
make it awake in our minds. 

Are you a beginner and you can just make a few things 
in Blender? This is for you! Check previous Blender 
ART M agazine's gallery chapters and choose a render 
that you find really impressive. Then say to yourself: "I 
will do this in the future" Put the render somewhere 
in your computer. After a few months, you will find 
the render again it won't look as impressive. Then try 
to make it again. If you can't, you will realize that the 
impulse will start up again and you will want to learn 
more. This is the best impulse I think. For example, 
when I was beginner in Blender, a 2D printer with an 
electronic notepad, was too impressive for me. I am 
still trying to make it again ... 



Actually, for this topic I met with Gottfried H ofmann. 
He is the founder of BlenderDiplomand his job is all 
about physical simulations. H e started to use Blender 
in 2009 and at the time, it was hard to learn physical 

W hen I asked "So, how did you learn about smoke and 
fire simulation so well?" he said "I had to dig my way 
through with my hands!" 

It was impressive; he was learning Blender by himself, 
asking questions,trying without being afraid, 
searching and things like that... Eventually, he became 
one of the best smoke simulation teachers in the 
Blender community. 

But,Hofmann knew one more thing: "wherel am 
going to?" This is a good question. For example think 
that you are climbing M ount Everest. Finally, you 
reach your goal, you turn around to see how far you 
climbed and ohh.. CO M EON! Everest is on the other 
side! U nfortunately... you climbed to the wrong 
mountain... but Hofmann knew this when hestarted. 
Keep this little tip in your mind, and know where you 



How to learn "learnin: 


want to go. 

So you might be asking: "W hy do I have to dig my way 
with my fingers? Why can't I ask other people?"W hat 
if you fall down from the middle of the mountain, 
there won't be people who will help you. You won't 
fall down if you do the same as H ofmann, but if you do 
fall down, it will be very easy to climb to the same 
mountain again... 

So let's talk about how? W e are not climbing to a 
mountain, we are learning Blender 3D! The first thing 
that you have to do certainly, is SEARCHING. After 
Blender is first released, 14 years passed and now 
there are lots of forums everywhere, lot of tutorials 
websites and thousands of topics and questions. 

Don't go onto Facebook and write "how to add an 
ocean simulation?" You probably saw some Blender 
features which are taking your mind away and you 
want to learn how to make an ocean simulation. 
H owever, this is the wrong way to learn, you can 
search for the same on Google and learn it from 
tutorials and articles. To ask people all the time is like 
taking help from the other climbers... W hat if you fell 

But if you can't get any results from your searches, 
then asking people is okay. For example, H ofmann 
was one of the people who had to ask. Because there 
were hardly any tutorials about what he wanted to 
do. He is one of the people who knows how to learn. 
They were lucky because they have to dig their way 
with their fingers... I hope after this article you will 
learn how to learn, as well. 

Did you ever watch a 3D movie or a showreel or a test 

And did you ever say that "how did this guy do this?" 

Do you know why Andrew Price opened a page called 
"winners hall of fame'? 

Because they want you ask something of them. Yes, 
actually, they really want that. Select any good work 
from any artist, find the contact information and try 
to ask something. You will see, they will get back to 
you if they are not busy :-) . 

M y brother who is advanced with 2D, is always asking 
questions of people who are impressive to him. And 
he has a philosophy that you must ask until the person 
doesn't answer anymore. 

Be a little bit cheeky, ask until they are not answering 

And I want to add a little note, don't confuse 
searching and asking methods. 

I am talking about asking, but not always in forums. I 
am just suggesting to ask special people. And do not 
forget searching. 

So guys I hope you "learnt"something from here. And 
I don't think so but I hope you also enjoyed it :-). 

See you next time! ■ 


J ust ask. Ask until they are not answering anymore. 
To ask is one of the most important learning styles. 
Think about when your teacher is talking about math 
and you can't understand something. W ithout asking, 
will your teacher explain the issue again? 




/dav blenderine for all of us 

, J 



3D Printing a Mug 

Krzysztof Bozalek 

Contributing Author 

After making the mug out of the clay you will have the 
grooves to fill in the paint, that creates the mesh pat- 
tern ■ 

Since I got into 3D graphics, I was looking for some 
gadget to keep me closer to the subject. After playing 
with the web searcher I found the mug render, 
painted in the mash pattern. There were a couple of 
mug mesh renders but that was all. I figured 
will be necessary to start a new project to decorate 
the mug that way. The best way to do this is to print 
the model on the 3 D printer, considering the lines are 
going to be painted in the grooves on the surface. 

• Thefirst thing I have done is model the mug I would like to 
have, keeping my eye on the typology that I would like to see 
on the surface. 

•Then I unwrap the model and export the layout to Pho- 

•Then I use thelayoutasatextureofthe model. 

• U se it on the display modifier to make grooves on the mug. 





Everyday blendeing for all o' 


Blendermom extraordinaire 

For many of us, there is something of a mystery 
concerning the whole topic of 3D printing. 3D 
printing, in and of itself sounds like something straight 
out of science fiction. And yet there are those who 
have already mastered not only the art of designing 
for 3D print, but are actually selling their designs as 

So just how do you get from a cool Blender model to a 
3D printed object worthy of being sold?To answer 
that question, we rounded up a couple of successful 
designers that routinely use Blender to create awe- 
some models that they then print and sell through 


One aspect that 
seems to be im- 
portant is the abil- 
ity to find and 

market your own niche. So first we take a look at 
M ark Bloomfield and his wonderful Electrobloom cre- 
ations. M ark has launched a fun and creative line of 
3D printed jewelry that is not only customizable but 
can be worn and put together in an endless variety of 
creative ways. M ark, a trained jewelry designer has 
come up with an amazing concept that allows his cus- 
tomers to choose various components and materials 
to make their own unique pieces that can be worn as 
rings, bracelets and necklaces. 

W hat wasyour inspiration for Electrobloom? 

I came up with the name 
Electrobloom some years 
ago before I knew what I 
wasgoingtodo with it! I 
wanted a name that in- 
cluded my name but also 
implied a collision between 
the old and the new, I like 
strong contrasts so Elec- 
trobloom had the right ring 
to it. After living with the name for a few years I de- 
cided that I wanted to do something hi-tech with 
flowers, so I then started to develop a jewellery col- 
lection using floral motifs that would be made using 
3D printing processes. 

Your jewelry line is modular and customizable, what 
prompted you to chose modular designs over say fixed 

It was the sheer amount of 
diversity in the natural 
world that led me to devel- 
op a customisable collec- 
tion, even plants that 
appear the same are very 
different when you look at 
them closely and a cus- 
tomisable collection allows 
for these differences. Also, 
the 3D printing process removes many of the con- 
straints that traditional forms of manufacture en- 
force. The idea behind a customisable system is that 




How to become a successful Blender Shapeways designer 

nothing is fixed and can evolve over time. As a design- 
er the investment you make in a fixed design can be 
difficult to recover but I 'm finding that each new item 
I design both expands and changes the collection in 
ways I couldn't have imagined at the beginning. It's 
also beneficial to the customers who buy the jew- 
ellery because they can swap charms over and add 
new designs to their own collection without having to 
discard all the items they bought in the past. I want to 
involve the customer in the creative process, 
everything works together and you can have some 
fun with it, making your own collection! 

How often do you create new designs or pieces? 

I'm always thinking of new ideas, it never seems to 
stop! I 'II do lots of sketch modelling to see how new 
designs will look and then get into the detail to make 
sure they will work. That's the beauty of using a tool 
like Blender, I can quickly rough out an idea to get the 
look right and then refine it. I use Blender's modifiers 
a lot to enhance simple meshes that are easy to ma- 
nipulate. It also means that I can go back and re-use 
different set-ups which can really speed up the devel- 
opment process. 

I like to make sure that the designs actually work once 
they've been 3D printed before offering them for 
sale, but waiting a couple of weeks for new designs to 
come through can be both frustrating and exciting! I'll 
work on new ideas while waitingfor 3D printsto ar- 
rive andthen refine those designs if needed oncel've 
seen the physical sample. 

Do you plan to expand your line to more than "bloom" 
type creations or have you found your niche? 

I'll always focus on plant motifs and be inspired by 
natural forms but I 'm also interested in how they 
change over time. I've worked in the fashion industry 
where seasonal change is the main reason for intro- 
ducing new collections and I still want to use that pro- 
cess. But rather than working 2 years ahead as with 
traditional manufacturing, I'm able to be more re- 

sponsive and develop new styles in season. I intro- 
duced new charms this autumn and have started to 
develop new styles for winter. bviously there are 
not many flowers in bloom during winter so I have to 
look to other forms of inspiration such as leaves, 
twigs and decay. I 've also designed charms that move 
or change shape which adds another level of engage- 
ment and wouldn't normally be done using traditional 
forms of manufacture due to the expense, but 3D 
printing makes these impossibilities possible! 

Are there any difficulties or obstacles to overcome during 
the design phase, either in Blender or with Shapeways 
that you had to solve to obtain good printed results? 

Sure, as with anything you design for manufacture it's 
important to consider that it can be made and that it's 
goingto work! Shapeways has a good resource that 
explains each of the 3D printing processes they offer. 

It's importantto remember that the term 3D Printing 
covers a wide range of different processes and mater- 
ials, each with their own set of characteristics and tol- 
erances. I'd always pick the most appropriate material 
for the design or if I wanted to use a particular mater- 
ial then I'd take into consideration the material char- 
acteristics and the production process to ensure the 
design will work. 

As I mentioned I have designed and made items that 
move. This has been particularly challenging as the 
3D printing process I use requires a 0.4mm tolerance 
to ensure the parts do not fuse together. But as I'm 
using a Laser Sintering process which fuses a powder 
with a laser to make solid objects, you also need to be 
sure that excess powder can be removed to allow the 
parts to articulate. 

Sometimes this works first time but I have had to 
make tiny adjustments to some models in Blender to 
get them to work. And although 0.4mm doesn't sound 
like much, when you're working at a jewellery scale 
it's surprising how easy it is to run out of space! 




How to become a successful Blender Shapeways designer 

How would you describe your experience using Shape- 

In general it's been really good, I love being able to 
upload new models at midnight and get an instant 
price, it's a really convenient service. And if there 
have been problems, then the customer service team 
are on the case and resolve issues quickly. I feel that 
there will continue to be issues as this is still a relat- 
ively new way to make things and each new design 
presents its own set of problems. An active com- 
munity also helps, there's always someone on the 
Shapeways forums that can answer questions or 
point you in the right direction, all you have to do is 

How have you marketed your creations? What has been 
the most successful marketing you have done? 

I am a bit of a Twitter addict and have used it to test 
different marketing ideas but I mostly use it to let 
people know what I'm up to and to share news. I've 
yet to finalise a full marketing plan, but I 'm working 
on it! J ust as 3D printing is a different way of making 
things which carries benefits such as 'made on de- 
mand, made to order, customisable and potentially 
made locally', I also want to come up with different 
ways of marketing my designs. 

I've been experimenting with Augmented Reality and 
linking AR virtual objects found on the streets of Lon- 
don to my Shapeways shop. I want to push this fur- 
ther, I like the idea of being able to populate Oxford 
Street in central London with 1000's of virtual 
flowers! I am also talking to traditional retailers and 
exploring ways that the shopping experience can be 
enhanced through these new technologies. I also re- 
cently participated in a couple of Trade Fairs and had 
many really interesting conversations, brilliant to 
simply talk to people about the collection and get in- 
stant feedback, sometimes the old ways work best! 

Shapeways has an excellent interview with M ark, I 
encourage you to check it out. 

Next we sit down and chat with Alex Delderfield own- 
er of Delta Edge. Delta Edge is filled with wonderful 
little MineCraft figurines printed in full color sand- 

Your shop, Delta Edge is filled with Minecraft figurines. 
What prompted you to model and print them vs anything 


After receiving my 

first 3D print early 

on in 2011 (which 

was more of just an 

experimental test 

out of interest)! 

thought for a while about what my first major 3D 

printing project could be. 

I spent a lot of time looking at what other people were 
making over on the Shapeways forum, in particular 
the people who were selling successfully (making 
money with Blender has been something I've been 
hoping to do for quite some time) 

I was playing Minecraft at the time when it occurred 
to me that a creeper might make a decent 3D printed 
object, and it was definitely something I would value 
and want. After a bit of searching around I found 
there currently weren't any of the quality I wanted, so 
I decided to whip up one of my own. 

After the Creeper model had been completed and I 
was happy with it, I quickly put together a couple of 
other figurinesto have test-printed as well. About 




How to become a successful Blender Shapeways designer 

two weeks later the big 
Shapeways box arrived, 
and I was more than im- 
pressed with the models. 
Importantly, I knew other 
people would also share 
my enthusiasm! By that 
stage the M inecraft com- 
munity was growing by millions every month, so I de- 
cided to make several more M inecraft models to flesh 
out the store better, before making the figurines pub- 
licly available. 

How do you go about creating 
each figure? 

Since the creatures in M inecraft 
are very simplistic, the actual 
creation of thefigurine within 
Blender is pretty simple, espe- 
cially for someone who has sev- 
eral years of experience using 
Blender. The tricky part is tak- 
ing a digital model and making it 
acceptable to print. N ot all di- 
gital models are automatically 
ready to be 3D printed, in fact 
most digital models probably 
wouldn't work if you just threw 
them at a 3D printer and told it 
to print - there's a lot you need 
to consider. 

For my process however, each 
figurine starts as a cube. I gen- 
erally started with the head of 
thefigurineand then added the 
bodies, arms etc. This was all 
very simple modeling, just res- 
izing boxes to focus on getting 
the sizes and proportions cor- 
rect. nee the (very) basic mesh 
is done it's then subdivide until 
the subdivided faces match the 

resolution of the low-res blocky texture style M ine- 
craft is known for. 

From there I unwrap the model's UV's and add a col- 
oured texture map which lines up exactly with the 
subdivided faces. I did this so particular 'pixels' on the 
model could be easily extruded for extra detail. This is 
where I really felt the quality and depth of the models 
developed, I was able to add a lot of custom detail 
which isn't at all present in the game versions of the 

Once the main model for the figurine is finished it's 
duplicated. ne of the duplicates is resized to become 
the larger figurine. The larger one required a lot more 
work at this point, as I needed to model the hollowed 
out inside, to save on material and bring the cost 
down (I mention moreaboutthat in thefollowing 

The two versions of the figurine are finally exported 
from Blender. I then import the model into Netfabfor 
final resizing and checks - N etfab has some handy 
tools for cutting up a mesh and measuring the thick- 
nesses of walls. It also allows you to calculate the cu- 
bic volume of material the object would 'take up' - this 
is very handy information when it comes to 3D print- 
ing. The model is again exported, finally being zipped 
in a folder with its texture file before being uploaded 
to Shapeways ready to print. 

Are there any difficulties or obstacles to overcome during 
the design phase, either in Blender or with Shapeways 
that you had to solve to obtain good printed results? 

There are a few, firstly as an artist you need to under- 
stand you're no longer creating just a digital model. 
You need to be in the mindset that this model is going 
to be made physically from some material and you 
need to know what kind of material that will be. The 
strengths and weaknesses of that material also need 
to be considered, Shapeways provides some very 
handy material datasheets which detail the toler- 
ances, max/min wall thicknesses and so on - 




How to become a successful Blender Shapeways designer 

everything you need to 
know about creating a 
model to be printed in that 

Also when itcomesto3D 
printing, since it's such a 
new technology, the cost of 
printing a model can quickly become excessive if 
you're not careful with volumes. Printing out a large 
solid object will easily cost you hundreds, so optimiz- 
ing a model and choosing the right size to work at is 
crucial to get right. The first Creeper model I up- 
loaded was more than $30 to print - too expensive to 
be considered a viable option to then sell, with addi- 
tional mark-up on top. I felt that most people simply 
wouldn't want to spend that much for a single figurine 
(I know I wouldn't). This is why I made smaller 'mini' 
version of thefigurine (which drastically brought 
down the price). 

The large figurines were still too expensive though, so 
I decided they needed to be hollow to save on materi- 
al costs. I mentioned before that printing a hollow 
model is much less expensive than a solid one, but this 
also has major drawbacks as it really adds complica- 
tion to the model design. I spent a lot of time then 
pulling the model apart and analyzing it, looking 
mainly at wall thicknesses, to see how thin I could get 
the walls without risking a frail or defective model. 

Shapeways are good at detecting a defective model 
before printing however, models can be rejected 
when uploaded or before being printed if they don't 
meet specific requirements. There's still that risk 

Once you decided on printing Minecraft figurines, how did 
you go about marketing them? 

M arketing/advertising was something I wanted to 
make sure I did right. There were several things I 
thought would be very important - a website to act as 
a kind of home base for the project, video(s) to show 

off the figurines nicely and decent photos for photo 
and image/art/photography sharing sites. I've also 
setup a twitter account and Facebook page for people 
to get more involved with. 

The main thing was having all of these elements setup 
and ready on the same day, which took a lot of work 
on planning. By far the best response I 've had so far 
was from Reddit.l posted an album of pictures of the 
figurines one afternoon and within 48 hours the al- 
bum had received well over a million views and the 
post on Reddit had a ton of comments. This huge ex- 
posure helped me get the attention of Shapeways as 
well, who then wrote a designer spotlight article 
which was featured on the Shapeways homepage for 
a week. That was certainly great to see, I felt as if my 
initial marketing had gone well at that point. 

I 've also thought a lot about holding some con- 
tests/give-aways in the coming months. They will 
more than likely take place on the Facebook page in 
order to interact with the community/fans a bit more 
and get more of a buzz going about these figurines. 
There are also several prominent people/video series 
in the M inecraft community who will feature the fig- 
urines at some point. 

I've been lucky enough to be able to organise a few of 
those so far. 

Do you have plansto expand or add to your Minecraft line 
of figurines? 

There are some other fig- 
urines which have been re- 
quested a lot, so I'll be 
adding a couple more to 
the shop soon. I also have 
some other ideas for addi- 
tions to my Shapeways 
shop, some M inecraft re- 
lated and some not. 




How to become a successful Blender Shapeways designer 

How would you describe your experience using 

The experience has been great! The fact that we can 
so easily have access to 3D printing though Shape- 
ways is certainly something I wouldn't have ever ima- 
gined. Shapeways then goes a step beyond that by 
allowing you to setup a shop and have it hosted on 
their website. I have experienced the odd glitch in the 
system, but it's always been resolved quickly and pro- 

Thank you once again for answering my questions. 
Thanks for the interview ■ 

Some additional linksforAlex- 





https://twitter.eom/M inecraftPrints 



https://w =A-cB- 

And finally we catch up with Marco Alici and his custom 
Raspberry Pi case. Who promptly decided as soon as he 
saw the Raspberry Pi, that not only did he want one, 
but that he wanted to design an attractive case for it. 

W hat prompted you to design a case for your Raspberry Pi 
to begin with? 

I work as a M echanical Design Engineer in a company; 
I'malsoa Linux passionate, and I'm vice-president of 
the local Linux Users Group. W hile preparing a con- 
ference about pen Source software, one of the 
speakers told me about the Raspberry Pi project. I 
wanted to get more information from the web, and 
there I discovered that the board would be sold 
without a case. I wanted one for me, and as a M echan- 
ical Design Engineer I thought I could easily design a 
case for my own Raspberry Pi. Since I already knew 
Shapeways, I knew I could have it made by 3D print- 
ing technology.There was very little choice of cases at 
that time, so I made mine public and available for pur- 
chasing, so that other people could give their Rasp- 
berry Pi boards a housing. 

W hat if any preparations/research did you undertake be- 
fore starting the actual design process? 

First of all I searched 
the Raspberry Pi 
Foundation website 
(and any other related) 
for information about 
thedimensionof the 
board and the position 
of the main I/O con- 
nectors. For some of 

them I found more than one source and they were not 
fully consistent, while some were completely missing 
(example: the position oftheLEDs). So I had to ana- 
lyze them, mediate and sometimes... guess. 

I havetosaythatmyjob experience (I mainly design 
housing for electronic equipments) helped me in this 




How to become a successful Blender Shapeways designer 

Then I had to solve all the design related problems. I 
used a CAD software for that purpose, but at every 
step I made photorealistic renderings using Blender 
and Yafaray and I published them on my blog and on 
the Raspberry Pi Foundation forum. The feedback I 
got has been essential to focus some features and 
how to implement them. 

Did it require more than one print to get the case to fit 
properly or did you get it in onetake? 

I would have liked to be the first in making a case for 
Raspberry Pi, so I got the first print before I had a real 
board in my hands. I was aware that some dimension- 
al errors could haveoccurred.AssoonasI tested it on 
my board, actually I had to make little corrections 
here and there, but I was surprised that the first pro- 
totype was almost usable. Before that, I only made 
photorealistic renders using Blender and Yafaray. 

Have you madeany modificationssincetheoriginal 

As I said, I used the first print to adjust dimensions, 
clearances and position of some components. Atthe 
same time I wanted to change thedesign of the upper 
cooling apertures. After that I made a second print to 
validate the changes. But I was reasonably sure about 
it, so I published the model on Shapeways (labelled as 
"Release Candidate") before getting the second print 
that actually was good. 

You actually have a wide variety of products in your 
Shapeways shop, what are your most popular items? 

I have not so much items in my shop: most of them are 
little gadgets, or things I made for fun (such as the 
Vuvuzela.thatl made during the 2010 FIFA World 
Cup in South Africa). The real "best seller" is by far 
thecasefor Raspberry Pi! 

W hat isyour favorite item so far? 

Apart from the case, I like the Zeiss Biogon replica. 
Actually it was never been printed by Shapeways be- 

cause the price was too high (it's a relatively big ob- 
ject). I modelled it in Blender starting from an image 
to answer to an help request I read on Twitter. Then I 
3D-printed it by myself using my own little Reprap 
Huxley I got in the meantime. The full story is told (in 
Italian) here: 

Are there any difficulties or obstacles to overcome during 
thedesign phase, either in Blender or with Shapeways 
that you had to solve to obtain good printed results? 

The main difficulty is 
related to price: even if 
Shapeways is not at all 
the most expensive 
rapid prototyping ser- 
vice on the market, 
SLS technology in itself 
is still too expensive. 

Despite of the great effort in the optimization (espe- 
cially reducing wall thickness and adding cooling 
apertures even if not necessary) the price of the prin- 
ted case is a little higher than the board itself. It dis- 
courages many potential buyers (most of Raspberry 
Pi buyers are teenagers or schools, or no-profit or- 
ganizations), that prefer cheaper alternatives. 

How would you describe your experience using ShaPe- 

I have to say I'm happy using Shapeways: they give a 
high quality service (I got higher quality only by the 
more expensive Stereolithography technology), with 
a wide choice of materials and colours and with a real- 
time control of costs. There are great people working 
there, and every time I had doubts or problems I got 
quick and exhaustive answers by e-mail.s 

Thank you once again for answering my questions. 
Thank you, It's a real honor for me to be here! :)■ 



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JCiftle-OM • 'MyrrtaJOOl 

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